tv Democracy Now LINKTV April 18, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
04/18/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> it is time to say the president is never going to release his tax returns? >> we will have to get back to you on that. amy: as millions of americans race to file their taxes today, the white house confirms president trump has no plans to make his tax returns public. this comes as the trump administstration is also refusug to release t theamames of visiss to the white house. we will look at transparency in the age of trump. then i go inside a denver church
where a mexican immigrant has taken sanctuary. i stick to her and her 10-year-old son roberto. what are you afraid of? andhat ice will pop out pick her up and take her away. amy: plus, we will speak to the acclaimed mexican writer valeria luiselli about her new book, "tell me how it ends," about her time working with children in immigration court. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. british prime minister theresa may announced this morning she'll call for early elections, shocking the country as she tries to secure a stronger mandate for the controversial plan for britain to leave the european union, known as brexit. >> tour opponents believe
because the government's majority says marcum our results will weaken and they can force us to changee course. they are wrong. they underestimate our determination to get the job done. and i am not preparered to let them in danger the security of millions of working people across the country. because what t they're doing jeopardizes the work we must do to prepare for briggs it at home -- exit at home and it weaeakens the governmentnt's negotiating position in europepe. amy: the early elections are set for june 8. prime minister may officially initiated the two-year brexit process last month. meanwhile, in more newews on european elections, france's left presidential candididate jean-luc melenchon, who has been compared to bernie sanders, is surging in the polls. the first round of france's presidential elections on april
23.. le pen has promised to suspend all immigration to france. she recently sparked outrage when she denied the french role in rounding up jews during world war ii during paris. the first round of france's presidential elections on april 23. international monitors have issued a scathing critique of turkey's referendum sunday over whether to grantnt sweeping new powers to the president that critics warn could turn turkey into a dictatorship. turkish president recep tayyip erdogan has claimed victory in the narrow vote, although the opposition says they've received thousands of complaints about voter fraud and other irregularities. on monday, international monitors slammed the referendum, saying the playing tilt is unlevel and that ththe oppositin faced repression. this is the head of a team of international monitors tana de zulueta. >> misuse of ministry resources and the obstruction of efforts by parties and civil society
organizations supporting the no campaign. the campaign rhetoric was tarnished are some senior officials, equating no to terrorist sympathizers. in numerous cases, no supervisors faced violence at their events. amy: the turkish government has rejected the criticism, calling it biased and prejejudiced. meanwhile, the u.s. is backing a referendum. on monday, president trump called erdogan to congratulate him on winning the referendum. trump has major business interests in turkey.y. in 2015, he even admitted he had conflicts of interest in dealing with turkey y while speaking on steve bannon's radio show breitbart news daily. pres. trump: i have a conflict of interest because of a major building in istanbul. it is a tremendously successful job. it is called trump towers. usualwers instead of the
one. i have gotten the no turkey very well. they are incredible people. amy: at a press briefing monday, white house spokesman sean spicer refused to comment on the alleged fraud and irregularities in the referendum. >> and start to make decisions without knowing -- there were observers theree as the routiney are and i would rather wait and save. amy: to see our full interview on sunday's referendum, go to democracynow.org. vice president mike pence is in japan today for talks with the deputy prime minister and other top japanese officials amid rising tensions between the u.s. and north korea. on monday, a senior north korean official said north korea would begin conducting missile tests weekly, despite demands from the u.s. and other countries for north korea to put a halt to its nuclear program. the journalistic monitoring group airwars says dozens of iraqi civilians were reportedly killed last week in airstrikes carried out by the u.s.-led coalition or the us-backed iraqi air force.
much of the bombing occurred in mosul's yarmouk neighborhood. on april 10, airstrikes there reportedly killed more than 30 civilians, including children. the following day, as many as 13 civilians were reported killed in airstrikes that destroyed homes in the same neighborhood. six more civilians were reportedly killed in airstrikes in anbar province that same day. meanwhile, in syria, airwars says as many as 20 civilians reportedly died in multiple u.s. coalition airstrikes carried out in raqqa governorate early last week. on april 10, up to 10 civilians, including at least two children, were killed in a series in alleged u.s.-coalition airstrikes on two separate villages. that same day, local media reported an alleged u.s.-led coalition airstrike killed members of two families, including at leastst one child, when a home was bombed. more than a dozen republican lawmakers are now calling on president trump to release his tax returns, echoing the demand ththat inspired momore than 1000 people to take to the streets on saturday, tax day. on monday, white house spokesman sean spicer again said trump did
not plan to release his tax returns, saying trump was under an audit. the irs says being under an audit does not prevent anyone, including the president, from releasing one's tax returns, telling abc -- "nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information." trump is the first u.s. president in more than four decades to refuse to release his tax returns. taxes are officially due today. we'll have more on trump's taxes and this weekend's protests after headlines. the u.s. supreme court has halted the scheduled execution of at least two men as the state of arkansas fights to carry out an unprecedented spate of executions in modern u.s. history. on monday night, the arkansas supreme court stayed the executions of don davis and bruce ward. this morning, the court refused -- the u.s. supreme court refused to hear a challenge by state officials, leaving monday's stay in place. under arkansas's original plan, it was to carry out eight
executions in 11 days as the state scrambled to carry out the executions before the supply of one of the execution drugs expired. to hear our full interview with the arkansas lawyer lee short, executive director of arkansas coalition to abolish the death penalty furonda brasfield, and former death row prisoner damien echols, go to democracynow.org. in egypt, a court has acquitted aya hijazi, her husband, and six other charity workers of all charges after they were imprisoned for more than three years without trial. hijazi, who grew up in v virgina and is a dual citizen of egypt, was arrested on may 2, 2014, along with her husband and others, while running a nonprofit seeking to help homeless children in cairo. she and her husband were accused of paying the children to participate in anti-government protests. to hear our interview about her with sharif abdel kudos, go to democracynow.org.
as many as 1500 palestinian prisoners are now on hunger strike and eight separate israeli jails. israeli prison officials have moved to retaliate againinst strike leader marwan barghouti, moving him to anotr prprisonnd placacing him in solitary confinement. in a "new york times" op-ed published monday, barghouti wrotote -- "israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for israelis who commit crimes against palestinians, while criminalizing palestinian presence and resistance. israel's courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation." on monday, p palestinians rallid inin support of the hungerer strikers in the west bank city of bethlehem. the prprotesters were attacked y isisraeli security f forces. among those to speak out in support of the hunger strikers was former palestinian prisoner khader adnan. >> when prisoners go on hunger
strike, they feel the freedom. it is a way to resist the occupation. we can win the battle against it with our empty stomachs. it is a message to the international community and the free people in the world that palestinians seek freedom. amy: in kashmir, about 100 protesting students were wounded after being attacked by indian security forces who fired tear gagas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators monday. protesters demanded independence from indian rule, chanting "go india, go back" and "we want freedom." dozens of students were also wounded by indian security forces during protests over the weekend. in mexico, journalist maximino rodriguez has been murdered, making him the fouourth mexican journalist in only six weeks to be assassinated. rodriguez reported on the police, crime, and corruption for a blog called colectivo pericu. he was killed on april 14 in the city of la paz. mexico is one of the world's
deadliest countries for journalists. georgia is holding a special election today to fill the seat of former congressman tom price, who is now the secretary of heath and human services. with 18 candidates in the field, one of the leading contenders is 30-year-old democrat jon ossoff, whose campaign slogan is "make trump furious." the race is considered a test to see how much voters may have turned on president trump, who has record low support. last tuesday, in kansas, republican ron estes won a congressional seat in a special election in a surprisingly close vote for a heavily conservative district. estes beat democratic challenger james thompson by a slim 53-46 margin in a district that donald trump carried by 27 percentage points last november. facebook is facing criticism for not removing quickly enough a shocking and graphic video of a man being killed, a man killing a 74-year-old grandfather in
cleveland. the alleged shooter, steve stevens, posted the video of himself shooting and killing as ththedwin sr. grandfather was picking up cans on s sun afternoon. it a appears s stevens picked te man at r random. a a manhunt is underway to find stevens. the video is among series of raids, suicides, and incidents of torture that have been live streamed or posted on facebook. of thousands of people participated in the 121st annual boston marathon monday. among the runners was 70-year-old kathrine switzer, who o in 1967 became the first woman ever to compete in the 26.2 mile race as an official entrant. at the time, the marathon was male-only, so she entered under the name k.v. switzer. officials tried to force her off the course after a few miles, but she persevered and finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes. this is kathrine switzer.
>> i was thehe only female runng wearing a bib. there's another woman who jumumd ouout of the bushes and ran. what kept me going, i had to make the decision -- of course, i felt aired and humiliated and embarrassed. this official was attacking me. bopped t the official and sent him out of the race. i went onn t to finishsh. i mamade the dececision to f fih because i feltlt if i drpeped o, then everybody would say, see, women are not well. they are to barge in the placacs where they cnot t do it anywayy and she isis just a a clown. i knewew i had to finishsh to ow women could, should, and be allowed and get opportunities for womomen and running. that was very, very important for me. iamy: that was kathrine switzer, the first woman officially registered for the boston marathon to complete the race. this year, she finished the race in 4 hours and 44 minutes,
50 years after that first race. she still wore the same bib, number 261, that she'd worn in 1967. the winners of this year's boston marathon were edna kiplagat and geoffrey kirui, both of kenya. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house is facing new criticism over its lack of transparency as president trump is refusing to release his tax returns as well as logs of white house visitors. onon monday, white h house spokn sean spicer said trump did not plan to release his tax returns, saying trump was under an audit. >> on the tax question, you asked this a thousand times, you always talk about under audit, the president is under audit. is it time to say once and for all the president is never going to release his tax return? >> we will have to get back to you on that. >> i mean, really.
>> really. i said i would have to get back to you on that. he is still under audit. the statement still stands. amy: trump is the first u.s. president in more than four decades to refuse to release his tax returns. the irs says being under an audit does not prevent anyone, including the president, from releasing your tax returns. on m monday, sean spicer also defended the administration's decision not to make public a log of white house visitors. >> we want to make sure people can come in the same with a can go to a member of the congress' office, provide details and there are people who want to be able to have that conversation with members of the administration the same way they would do with members of congress, go into their office. >> why didn't he take this opportunity to one of the transparency? >> i'm trying to explain that. we r recognize there is a privay in allowing people to come and express their views. amy: spicer's comments came just
two days after more than 100,000 people took to the streets saturday across the country to call on trump to release his taxes. crowds gathered in more than a dozen cities from coast to coast, including washington, d.c., here in new york city, chicago, seattle, and in south florida, where activists marched to trump's private mar-a-lago resort where trump was staying over the weekend. meanwhile, democratic lawmakers are vowing not to work with trump on reforming or rewriting the tax code unless trump releases his own taxes. more than a dozen republican lawmakers are also calling on trump to release his taxes. well, for more, we're joined now by susan lerner, executive director of common cause new york. she was on the steering committee for the nyc tax march. susan lerner, welcome to democracy now! talk about what these mass protests were about that clearly donald trump waas upset by because he tweeted about them. >> i think we got under his skin, and that was one of the goals.
the tax march was about a simple demand. donald trump should come clean with the american people and disclose his full tax returns. not just a sheet here or therefrom a random year, but the full long 1040 form for at least the last five to 10 years. he needs to answer questions that americans across the country have as to whether he is working for the american people or he is working for his own bottom line. amy: so let's talk about what exactly it would mean. talk about what the taxes would show. talk about why this is so important. >> what we believe the taxes would show is who actually owns a piece of donald trump. there has been speculation that based on things that his son and others have said that he owes
substantial amounts of money to russians, who are carlos to the -- are close to the kremlin. therefore he is subject influenced by the people who own his credit. it would tell us what sorts of deals he has in foreign countries. it would let us know who would be able to influence the 45th president so that he would be making decisions based on what is best for the people who he owowes money to or is in busines with, rather than what is best for the american people. so it would help us determine if there is born influence and determine if he is actually working first and foremost for the americans, and whether he is putting the best interest of the electedhat he allegedly to represent first and foremost. amy: i want to turn to something that has just recently come out. on monday, president trump called the presidentnt of turke,
erdogan, to congratulate him on winning the referendum. 12 has major business interest -- trump has major business interest in turkey. there is mass criticism of this referendum that could lead to a dictatorship and turkey. trump has major business interests in turkey. in 2015, he even admitted he had conflicts of interest in dealing with turkey while speaking on steve bannon's radio show breitbart news daily. pres. trump: i have a little conflict of interest because i have a major, major building in istanbul. it is a tremendously successful job. it is called trump towers. two towers instead of the usual one. i have gotten to know turkey very well. they are incredible people. in: that is donald trump 2015. >> we have so many concerns regarding conflict of interest. a president who refuses to
knowledge is ethical refuse tolities to come clean with the american people to how extensive those business interests actually are, and simply fueling endless speculation that he is not working for the american people. there is absolutely no justification. amy: let me turn to to correspondent haley jackson ququestioning presiden trump in janunuary about his taxes. >> will you release your tax returns s prove w what you u ae sasaying about no als s in russ? pres. trump: i'm not releasing the tax returns because they're under audit. >> every president since the 1970's -- pres. trump: oh, i've never heard that. deal the one who cares about my tax returns are the reporters. >> [indiscernible] pres. trump: i won. i became president. i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you care. amy: so that was donald trump.
who else cares about it? >> americans across the country, lawmakers, members of congress. last night, congressman donovan who represents staten island had a teletown hall. he chimed in that he believes donald trump should release his tax returns. what is really interesting is congress has the power to order donald trump to release his tax returns. there is no statute which to releasecandidate tax returns when they are running for president, but there is a law that was passed back in the 1920's, a teapot dome scandal, that gives congress the ability to require the disclosure of a president's tax returns. and d repeatedly, congress has refused to exercise that power.
amy: repeatedly throughout history or throughout donald trump's almost 100 days? >> in the current presidency, i think it is the first time in a long time, the ability has come nix- it was used during the s returns.years nixon' congress has been asked repeatedly by members of the house to order -- to take advantage of this law and they have refused. amy: talk about what is one of the lead stories in "new york his refusal to relelease his tax reteturns. >> absolutely. this is clearly a president who has no relationship to the truth, feels the obligation to follow through on the promises that he made in his campaign. they are hollow. he repeatedly said, oh, if only i could release my tax returns.
once i'm elected, of course, i will release my tax returns. now he is spitting in everyone's face saying, i don't have to bother. "the election is over" as he tweeted on sunday. well, the election may be over, but his conflicts of interest continue to mount. respondeddent trump to the demonstrations by tweaking -- trump plus claim is ironic because as abc points out, trump himself used paid actors to pose as rally attendees durining his campaign. >> you put your finger on something that is obvious about the 45th president that when he makes an accusation, we should first and foremost look at his own conduct. he is not a person of great imagination. so he accuses people of things, which he himself either has done or has contemplated doing. it is absolutely ironic that
this guy who paid people to show up and increase the number at his rallies would it use everyday americans who are concerned about the lack of integrity and ethics in this white house, that they would in some way have to be paid or urged to make their wishes very clearly known. across the country, everyday americans sent a clear message to donald trump based o on their own feelings "come clean, you chicken, release your tax returns." that is why the chicken balloons were so popular across the country. amy: you have democrats an increasingly republicans demanding that he released his tax returns. opinion of others who are saying, instead of protesting don't pay taxes, just your taxes. there is a long history of tax
resistance going back to henry david throw, especially now as president trump announces he is calling for 50 plus billion dollar increase in the military budget and slashing diplomatic departments like the state department, international aid organizations. what are your thoughts? part of somen interesting discussions in new york city where people are trying to figure out what is the right thing to do. there is a long history, as you said, of tax resisters. now there is a broader discussion, which is, how do we redirect our tax dollars? what is interesting about americans, and you can feel very strongly about paying their taxes -- this is a country that has extremely high voluntary tax compliance. and one of the things that was chanted at the march in new york city was "we pay our taxes in this town." another thing we don't know is whether donald trump is carrying
his weight it all or whether he is allowing working families, immigrants and the working poor, to pay for civilization -- which is what taxes are, after all. and he did the benefit, we carry the burden. amy: i want to ask you, susan lerner, about another subject. the trump administration's do to keep the logs of white house visitors secret. on monday, sean spicer defended the policy. >> we are following the law as both the presidential records act and the federal records act are prescribed. it is the same policy that every administration had of until the obama administration. attempt where the obama administration would scrub with a didn't want to doubt, did not serve anyone well. amy: talk about the white house logs. are a white house logogs record of every single person who comes in and out of the white house.
the obama administration made the determination they were going to make those logs public to the maximum extent possible. it is impossible to have absolute clarity on it. there are some people who have security concerns. with the obama administration, while it was not perfect disclosure, was better disclosure than we have seen previously. they went so far as to put the public parts of the logs up on the white house website so you as an individual could go on the white house website. you could put in the name of a ceo or lobbyist for anybody else you are interested in, and you could find out when and how many times that particular person visited the white house. in february, all of a sudden, that information disappeared off the white house website. this is a significant retrenchment, and yet another way in which this particular administration refuses to come
clean with the american people an absolutely is ok, as a parent a transparent -- as opposed to transparent. what saturday made clear, americans care about having a transparent and accountable government. this administration wants to be sure they do not get it. amy: what you say about sean spicer saying we want to protect the privacy of citizens who want to meet with the president? >> that is truruly extraordinary and away in which to ensure the swamp that the 45th president claims he was going to drain simply increases. because the people who are being hidden are not ordinary citizens, not everyday americans coming in to petition the white house. they are the ceos of large corporations. they are bankers. they are lobbyists. they are people who want something from the federal toernment, basically, want pick the pockets of the taxpayers. in this is the way to hide the
fact that this administration is in thehe pockets of wealthy special interest. amy: we will leave it there. valeria luiselli, thank you for -- susan lerner, thank you for being with us is on the steering committee for the nyc tax march. when we come back, we go into a denver church where a mexican immigrant has taken refuge with her children. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "taxman" by junior parker. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we go now to denver, colorado, where a mother of four is fighting against possible deportation by seeking sanctuary in a church. jeanette vizguerra skipped a scheduled check-in with ice officials and instead sought refuge in the first unitarian society church, along with her four children, three of whom are
u.s.-born. jeanette came to the u.s. from mexico in 1997. she's one of the founders of the metro denver sanctuary coalition. she has helped other undocumented immigrants seek sanctuary. she previously won five postponements of deportation,, but said on she doubts she could wednesday win a similar reprieve under the trump administration. her as sosoon as she went into the church two months ago. but this weekend when i went to denver, i visited jeanette to follow up on how her stay has been. and i spoke to her as well as , her 10-year-old son, roberto, at the c church. i began by asking roberto why his mother is staying at the church. >> she is in the church because there are these peoplple, which are like a group of people named -- she wanted to
like - -- herer, in.ck- she tried to make some papers so she could stay here even longer. and then they denied it. but before she went to the check in, she decided to come here. and one of my friends, which is ann, went to do it for her. when they went inside, there were ice already there ready to arrest my mom. my mom thought it was a good idea to do that before because she knew that there might be a problem, and she might have
gotten arrested. we visit her sometimes because we don't want her just to stay in here and have nothing to do, -- be lonely. we come here so she feels happy to see a still. amy: what are you afraid of? >> that some ice person will pop out and pick her up and take her away. amy: do you consider yourself an activist? >> yes. amy: what does that mean to you? >> being an activist? it means a lot because not only am i going to be a normal boy, i know i'm going to be someone that is going to be helping someone else going through a big problem. amy: what do your friends say to you? >> they are, like, they are really happy your mom did not .et tooken by ice because if she did, i knew you would the really sad.
they support me. they support me a lot because they know what i'm going through. an honest everyday there someone asking me. hey, is your mom still locate? amy: what do you? tell them? >> she is fine. nothing is happen to her and nothing will happen to her. amy: and you know that because? >> because she is in a safe place. and they would be disrespectful if they broke in here and took my mom. it would give them a bad profile. amy: so she can't go outside, but you go outside for her? >> yes, i'm kind of like her voice. that was 10-year-old roberto. jeanette is fighting against possible deportation by seeking sanctuary in a church. when i talk to roberto and jeanette, there were also sitting with her six-year-old daughter.
i asked jeanette what her plans were now, now that she has spent nearly two-month in the church. >> yeah, it is been almost two months. i have not noticed, it is been so long, because i am busy. there is no plan going forward. we just need to wait. my lawyer is working really hard the samee, while at time i'm exploring some community-oriented strategies because he is in charge of the legal aspect and i come as an activist, am in charge of the community aspect. so i can only wait. i have said i am a very patient amy: are you preparared for ice to come in at any time? .> yes
we have e an internal plan heret the c church. and not only at this church, also at the church where ingrid is, who is at the otother church in mountain view. she has been in sanctuary for over three months. both churches are part of the metro denver sanctuary coalition, and each church has an emergency plan. i am also prepared. before coming here, i prepared a family plan ice in case were to go to my house. part of the plan with my children was that one of them would be filming and the other would be calling people from a list i gave them. and here we have a similar p pl. so i am prepared and so are the people here. we hope that donald trump will respect t these spaces. it would look wrong frorom a mol standpoioint if you came afterer mothers who are just fighting for ththeir families. amy: you are receieiving death
threats? >> i have been receiving several hate messages from men and women through facebook. amy: in the police captain can do say he supports you? >> yes. they have come in person to offer support. they have asked us to keep a record if we see somemething wed onon the street or people send strorong messages of hate againt me on social media because these people will suffer the consequences. amy: how can people be supportive to you? what is most helpful to you? i feel very grateful because i have more people supporting me and people hating me. and not only in this country, there are many messages of support coming from my own country. other countries because my case is now known worldwide. amy: that is jeanette vizguerra sitting with t two of her c chin in a church she is taken sanctuary in.
jeanette is one of the founders of the metro denver sanctuary coalition, but she herself has taken sanctuary after donald .rump became president to see our full interview with her when she first entered the church two months ago, go to democracynow.org. coming up, we will speak with declan mexican writer valeria luiselli about her new book "tell me how it ends." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: thihis is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to a book described by the texas observer as the first must-read book of the trump era. the book is entitled "tell me how it ends: an essay in 40 questions" by mexican born author valeria luiselli. she is one of the most acclaimed young mexican writers.
she recently spent time as a volunteer interpreter are dozens of central american child migrants here in the united states who risked their lives crossing mexico to seek refuge in thehe u.s. the book opens with the firsrst question luiselli has to ask each child she helped in immigration court, "why did you come to the united states?" the book is being published as president trump vows a broader crack down and undocumented immigrants. valeria luiselli, thank you so much for being with us. tell me what you did in immigration court. ofwell, i did work -- a lot bilingual volunteers did in the period and can still do right now, which was to simply serve as a bridge between kids coming in from central america and lawyers that screen them. when the 214 crisis in iraq did was-- a rugged and daca
declared, meaning all of the kids cases were grouped together and bumped up in the priority list, meaning they were now a priority in terms of deportation -- john amy: this is during the obama years. during the obama years. this is an 2014. there were prioritize as cases and they suddenly had, instead of one entire year to find a lawyer in only 21 days. --organizations, nonprofits a lot of organizations, some here in new york, got together and formed a group and came up with a questionnaire to screen children so they could get their stories.s. once they had their stories, could form a case, then a pro
bono lawyer could take on. what i did was simply to serve as a bridge between those possible lawyers and the children, trtranslatating their stories into english. amy: so where were you in court? >> there was a room -- it has actually disappeared. last week i spoke to one of the persons i worked with from the door who told me the rumor -- room where we conducted screenings was a room provided by the court, an empty room that can be used for children to receive every child that came in for a screening us down no longer available. the situation in court is more chaotic and difficult than ever. but there was a room in order where organizations could set themselves up and receive children -- amy: here in new york? >> yes, in federal plaza. amy: so talk about how children frame their experience. what you are most moved by.
in theireverything experience is horrifying and moving and feels the person listening to them with great admiration. i mean, the children that arrive here -- one must remember, they are the children that made it. the children that made it through mexico, which is really like hell for central american migrants will stop eight out of 10 girls get raped along their journey. women takedult contraceptive precautions even before they start the journey because they assumed they will be raped. hundreds of thousands of people have disappeared, central americans. there are mass graves in mexico being found every week, basically, with remains of people. that it is really
difficult to even just make it through mexico. now more so because pena nieto, the mexican president, and obama signed agreements in which the u.s. -- by which the u.s. has been pouring money into mexico so mexico acts as a sort of chief reporter. mexico has been deporting many more migrants. these children, the ones that arrive in court, are the ones that make it through mexico, make it through the first screenings with border patrol, box, input then in ice a shelter, and then finally -- amy: it is called the icebox? >> in spanish, it is referred to as -- it means icebox. because it is ththe ice facilities, but also because the icebox is like a huge human
refrigerator where people are put under frereezing temperaturs and subject to very inhumane conditions. amy: can you read something for us from your book "tell me how it ends those quote? we're speaking with valeria luiselli from award-winning reporter. this based on her majority for migrants in new york immigration courts. cox sure. fragment fromtiny an interview with very young girls. "often my daughter asks me, so how does the story of those children end, mama? i don't know how it ins, i usually say. my daughter often follows up on the story she has.
there is one story that it says is her, a story i only tell her in pieces for which i have not yet been able to offer a real ending. it begins with two girls in a courtroom. they are five and seven years old from a small village. spanish is their second language, but the older girl speaks it well. we sit around a mahogany table in the room where the interviews take place and their mother observes from a bench in the back. with atle girl comes crayon in her hand. the older one has her hands crossed as mental and two answers my questions one by one. she is a little shy, but tries to be clear and precise in her answers, delivering all of them with a big smile, toothless here and there. why did you come to the united states? i don't know. how did you travel here? a man brought us. a coyote echo know, a man. was he nice to you? yes, he was nice, i think. cross the border?
i don't know. texas, arizona? yes, texas, arizona. that is just a small fragment from an interview with two girls from guatemala. amy: there are official questions that you have to ask. can you talk about question seven of the 40 official questions? sure. did anything happen on your trip to the u.s. that scared or hurt you? for me as a mexican, that is the question that most feels me with your trip to the u.s. means basically what ridingd to you in mexico or walking. >> explain what you mean. >> it is the way the freight trains are called in mexico. it is not a single train.
a lot of people think it is a single train. it is three different train routes that connect southern north mexico.e a lot of migrants for many years have been riding atop the train cars. .hey're called gondolas that is the way they are referred to in spanish. they ride atop the gondolas to make it to the north where they then cross the deserts. plan that was the signed between obama and pena nieto, or the plan that pena nieto came up with after talks inh obama and mexico's role this process, a lot of people are not riding the trains anymore because it is too dangerous. there are too many immigration officials waiting to hunt them down. a lot of people are taking more dangerous routes. they're starting to open sea routes.
people are now traveling a little boats, which -- we assume what has happened in the mediterranean, which is a relatively small sea. imagine writing through the waves of the pacific ocean? so that question fills me with shame because of what happens to central americans in mexico and the way they're treated not only by drug lords, but also the government, which is now following due process and not giving them the right they have to seek asylum in mexico if they want to. and it is just according them ngthout giving up -- deporti them withohout giving them a chance to defend their case.e. amy: you say you want to change the language about how we think about immigration, that is why you wrote this book. how do you want to change it? what is wrong with it? >> violence against people starts with language, but so does resistance.
migrantan undocumented and illegal, for example, is something that a lot of people with good intentions do because that is the language, the accepted language out there. just as slavery in the u.s. used to be called "our peculiar institution was going instead of slavery. deportation is called "removal" the same way that putting indians into reservations is called removal. undocumented is called "illegal." people feel they are criminals, feel that they are somehow entitled toot anything. if you call a person illegal, they eventually feel their criminal. part of this book is rethinking the language around immigration. of course, pushing the idea that was so brilliantly and bravely put forth years ago, that these
children coming from central even seene not to be as migrants, as young migrants, but as refugees because of the situation they arere fleeing. they are trying to seek asylum here. they turned themselves into border patrol and seek asylum. they are not here trying to get here illegally. they don't want to remain undocumented. no one does. it is that the destiny anyone really desires. amy: you said something interesting about trump coming in to office, that it has brought relief to immigration activists who have been working for so long -- well beyond donald trump. you have said for the first time in such a long time, the cultural elite and liberals and the more general population seem to be a lot more concerned. so under president obama, which even his allies in the
immigration community, those who worked inside and outside the white house, came to call the deporter-in-chief, there was not there was tremendous activism at the grassroots level, but acknowledgment of what was happening, the millions of people who are being deported, that did not really hit the corporate media radar, to say the least.. what about him? >> that is true. one must acknowledge the good ththings obama did in terms of immigration, such as getting me daca past through in executive order, but there's a lot of things he did not do and a lot of things he did that were wrong, such as creating the givingy juvenile -- children, instead of a year to get a lawyer to defend themselves against deportation, after they had finally arrived in the u.s., giving them only 21 days. yes, there is a lot to be criticized -- amy: and many children, although they say you can only state in a
detention facility for something like 21 days, they move them from one to another. yet people who have been held, families, for well over a year. notn the icebox, they're supposed to be there for more than 72 hours, and there left for weeks. there was a scandal that there were lucky they made it out into public knowledge, which was children were given adult vaccinations for hepatitis so ththey became very sick.. i don't remember the exact number, if it was 200 -- between 200 and 400 children ended up hospitalized because they were given this vaccination that was not for them. so, yes, the obama years were dark for immigrants. and liberal-thinking people, they did not have such a strong
opinion. it was something we had to talk about almost in a hush. comparatively, obama was much better than many other presidents, right? but now it seems, finally, immigration is back on the table and people that were not so concerned or were not so active are now active. amy: can you talk about the teenager from honduras who you worked with? >> yes, i can. manu, that is not his real name of course, and he is kind of angry with me because he wanted his realm and to be in the book. i asked his lawyer and his lawyer said, until he has a green card, even though he now now, itgal status right is very frail. he can easily be denied a green card. so bececse he doeses not have a green card yet, she said it was
not recommended that we use his real name in the book. i put a picture in there, but his face is not clear. you can just see the silhouette. writes, the picture is really nice, but you can't really see my face will stop [laughter] case i- he was the first ever translated in court. he is the person with whom i have sort of an ongoing relationship. he now comes to hostile university where i work, every week, to have english one-on-one classes with a student of mine, lexie, who is one of the tias. there are group of students at hofstra they got together and after a class i gave, they decided to form the teenage immigrant association. they now receive teens once a week on a one-to-one model.
the teens then receive english lessons with them. some of them are getting college application, and an idea that more political wing of the tia will start talking about activism and civil rights and about ways they can not only themselves feel more empowered in their communities, but eventually also go back to their communities and talk about these things. amy: talk about the significance of the wall. and does it -- to children talk to you about it? .ou are talking about manu there's a discussion of the wall on the southern border of u.s. and mexico, but there is also a wall being discussed on the southern southern border, mexico honduras, the conservative publication "the weekly standard "had a headlined "will mexico
build a wall on its southern border and make trump pay for it? maybybe." ofmexico is no example peoplearian treatment to from central america, , treatmet with basic dignity. for many years, mexico was an example of a country that was very open to receiving refugees and exiles from all over the world. there was an important lebanese migration in the 1970's. there was, of course, the big spanish aggression during the franco years. and then during the dictatorships in the southern cone. but mexico has never opened its doors to central americans or to
haitians. and i think it is a matter of fundamental racism. i think mexico was happy to bring in white or people -- theer people to whit-ify country, but h has never r reced central americans. all, a racist issue. amy: that border would be built on the mexico-water mullah border. finally, we have 10 seconds, tell me how it ends, the title, where you got it. >> my daughter keeps on asking me the same question. she always wants to know what is going on with the children i work with. and what their stories are. she always wants to know how the story ends. unfortunately, there is no ending. there is so happy ending. amy: valeria luiselli, thank you for being with us award-winning , writer. her latest book is "tell me how it ends: an essay in 40 questions."